Scottish Sikhs Stand Up for Justice

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EVENT:

Join the Unity Rally on Sunday 1st November, 1pm at George Square, Glasgow.

Scottish Sikhs will gather in George Square to highlight the injustices and abuses against minority communities in India.

As two peaceful demonstrators were shot and killed by Panjab state police and many hundres injured, Scottish Sikhs will stand shoulder to shoulder to promote our universal right to freedom of religion and belief. 

We will have speeches from MSPs, MPs & Councillors and will be joined by Amnesty Scotland, Scottish Media & Leaders from other Faiths.

Support the campaign & Tweet using #SikhLivesMatter

 

Background

 

Following the desecration of the Sikh holy scriptures of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in the village of Bargadi, Panjab and various other Gurdwaras across Panjab, on the 14th October 2015 over 30,000 citizens of Panjab staged a sit in protest to question the lack of action taken by the Indian authorities to arrest the culprits.

 

Guru Granth Sahib Ji is sacred in the Sikh religion as it is regarded as the Living and Eternal Guru.

 

The citizens of Panjab were exercising their universal right to freedom of expression and freedom of speech in a peaceful setting. They presented no harm to the authorities or the state.

 

In shocking scenes on the morning of 14 October the Panjab Police used lethal force against the peaceful Sikh protesters without warning while they were undertaking their morning prayers in Kotkapura. The police initially used batons to attack the peaceful protestors and then resorted to use of water cannons to try and disperse protesters.

Later they opened fire with live ammunition killing a number of unarmed Sikh protesters and injuring dozens of others. Two of those killed have been identified as Kishan Singh, 45, of Niami Wala village and Gurjit Singh, 27 of Sarawan village, reportedly gone to give food to the demonstrators.

Is this a stand-alone issue?

 

No, in the past week there have been at least five reports of copies of the Guru Granth Sahib being desecrated.

Torn-up copies of the Sikh Scriptures have been found in different areas of the state – at Jandiala village in Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Tarn Taran near Amritsar, Kot Kapura and Gurusar Jalal village in Bathinda district in the south of the state.

 

What else has sparked these uprisings?

 

An 82-year old American-Sikh citizen, Bapu Surat Singh, has been on an indefinite hunger strike since 1st January 2015.

 

Bapu Surat Singh undertook a hunger strike to free Sikh political prisoners who have been held in India’s prisons even though they have served their sentences in full.  Furthermore, many have been sentenced for crimes they did not commit with little evidence connecting them to the crime. Bapu Surat Singh is now in his 278th day of hunger strike.

 

#SikhLivesMatter has been used on Twitter over 40,000 times and was one of the top trending on Sunday 18th October 2015.

What is the position of the Scottish Sikh community?

 

Scottish Sikhs have always remained steadfast in their approach to human rights, taking an active role to highlight the injustices in India. To date, the community has secured support from the Scottish Government to abolish India’s use of the death penalty and supporting the ‘Truth About 1984’ campaign.

 

The current Panjab situation is being discussed daily at Scottish Sikh Gurdwaras and in our homes.

 

What are we asking the Scottish Government / MSPs?

 

Human rights is a fundamental right for every individual and we call on the Scottish Government & Scottish Parliament to support the Scottish Sikh community in the fight against police brutality, freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

 

  1. We request a meeting to discuss these serious matters with the First Minister and representatives of the Scottish Sikh community.
  2. We also want these issues to be raised with the UK and Indian Governments.

 

Press Statement

 

Charandeep Singh, General Secretary, Glasgow Gurdwara, said:

 

“The recent outbreaks of police brutality have led to hundreds of Sikhs being beaten, abused and killed, leading to a human rights crisis in Panjab. Numerous grassroots-inspired demonstrations have taken place throughout the state of Panjab calling for justice against the perpetrators who desecrated the Sikh Scriptures, Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

 

“The Scottish Sikh community is following and discussing this issue on a daily basis, in our homes and in our Gurdwaras (Sikh Centres). We must stand together and demand tough action against police brutality in any part of the world.”

 

Ends